Social media giant Facebook has successfully tested a laser drone that’s been circling over the UK, a report from the Guardian can confirm. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said that the drones beam internet access to more rural or disconnected areas of the country that don’t yet have access to the internet.
Zuckerberg said that the drones – which have a wingspan larger than a Boeing 747 – “will help connect the whole world because they can affordably serve the 10 percent of the world’s population that live in remote communities without existing internet infrastructure.”
According to Sky.com, Zuckerberg posted a message to Facebook expressing his joy at testing the new drones over the United Kingdom.
“As part of our Internet.org effort to connect the world, we’ve designed unmanned aircraft that can beam internet access down to people from the sky…Today, I’m excited to share that we’ve successfully completed our first test flight of these aircraft in the UK.”
Internet.org is Facebook’s latest endeavour into online connectivity that is aiming to connect a further billion people to the World Wide Web, particularly in areas that are remote.
Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, said that one of the company’s major goals is to ensure that new users are capable of handling a new surge of messages and images on the social networking site.
“If we achieve our first goal, get everyone on the internet, build services at scale for the entire planet, we create this new problem: so much information you can’t consume the stuff that’s important to you.”
The laser drones themselves were developed by Ascenta, a company in Somerset, UK that specializes in making solar-powered drones. The machines are allegedly able to fly at an altitude of 60,000 feet for several months at a time using just solar power. The company was bought out by Facebook last year.
At the F8 Conference that took place earlier this week, Facebook have also said they are not only looking to bring drones to the UK and other parts of the world, but are also interested in virtual reality. The announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise as the company bought out the VR development team Oculus last year.
Currently the social media site has over 1.3 billion users connected from all over the world. With the introduction of laser drones, remote places in the UK and elsewhere will be able to experience Facebook for the first time.
[Image courtesy of International Business Times]